An inspired performance by Wigan and in particular Luis Antonio Valencia saw Blackburn off by three goals to nil. The Ecuadorian made one and scored one in the first 12 minutes to see off our Lancashire neighbours.
Latics came out like tornado taking the game straight to the low on confidence Blackburn and after early efforts form Heskey and Scharner their intent was plain for them to see.
The breakthrough didn’t take long as the ever impressive Valencia showed excellent skills to get round his man and cross the ball for Heskey to score. The goal was really well taken as the cross went behind the England striker and he somehow managed to drag the ball with the back of his heal into the Blackburn goal.
The visitors didn’t learn from the first goal and saw Valencia coming at them again two minutes later after a sloppy clearance from Paul Robinson saw Melchiot head to the ball straight to him. This time the Ecuador International went on his and blasted the ball past the Rovers keeper.
Blackburn offered little resistance and had to endure wave after wave of Latics pressure, but to their credit they started defending quite well after their earlier mistakes. Zaki had the next decent chance but he was fouled by Samba.
Scharner then tried to latch on to Ryan Taylor’s free kick only to see his header float agonisingly wide. Bramble was next to get his head onto yet another Taylor free kick but again it went wide of the post.
The rest of the first half saw us keep a lot of possession but not put in any telling balls. On the flip die Blackburn were restricted to the odd break, though they never really threatened Kirkland’s goal.
Cattermole did get another chance before the half finished but his looping header just went over the bar after a great lay off from Zaki. The Egyptian rounded the half off with a thundering strike but the ball was always going wide.
There is no doubt that the happier manager was Steve Bruce, but even so Paul Ince won’t have welcomed the booing from the 1500 or so travelling fans.
The second half carried on the way the first finished, but Blackburn at least showed signs that they were going to give us a game. They managed to get a couple of free kicks but both went flailing over the crossbar safely into the stands.
The first save Kirkland had to make came on the hour mark as the England International pushed Emerton’s shot around the post. Latics were unlucky not to score a few minutes later as Zaki met a Taylor cross but the ball went the wrong side of the post.
Substitute David Dunn unleashed a wicked shot, but the flight was straight at Kirkland and he saved easily. Just as the match looked like it was going to fizzle out, up popped Lee Cattermole to smash in the third goal and finish the game.
Again it was man of the match Valencia who provided the killer cross for Catters to place his drive past the helpless Robinson. Blackburn did have a couple of chances but none of which were ever going to trouble Latics.
The referee blew the game up to shouts of ‘Your getting sacked in the morning’ and without doubt Paul Ince’s players are not helping the young manager out.
Report by Jason Taylor